Written by: Jason Gazaway

Is it time to upgrade your network? Perhaps you are installing an all-new network. Either way, one of the primary decisions you must make is what type of cable you will use. Copper cables have led the way for traditional computer networks but in recent years, an increase in the use of fiber cabling has been seen.Fiber Cables

Should your business build its network based on fiber technology? We think the answer is a resounding “yes”. But, we don’t want you to just take our word for it and we’re pretty sure your CEO won’t either. Instead, we want you to understand what a Fiber To The Office (FTTO) network can do for your business.

The Wonders—or Not—of Copper Cabling

To truly understand the benefits of fiber cabling, it is important to understand copper cabling. Copper rose to the top as the choice for computer networking professionals in part due to its affordable price tag. Even as fiber optic cables entered the marketplace, copper continued to dominate largely for this reason. In recent years, however, the rising cost of copper cabling coupled with the decreased cost of purchasing, installing and maintaining fiber cabling has all but eliminated this benefit.

Without a clear-cut cost benefit, the limitations of structured copper cabling have become more apparent to CEOs concerned with both performance and price, furthering the search for alternatives.

Among the problems noted with copper are:

Space Requirements
Copper can only transmit data up to roughly 100 meters. This requires multiple nodes to be placed throughout a building, taking up valuable space—and money.

High Energy Consumption
The hardware demands of a structured copper cable network necessitate additional hardware and infrastructure for cooling due to the level of heat produced. The heating and cooling both contribute to high energy use and costs.

Poor Expansion Options
Upgrades of a copper-based network require all new-cabling, making this option anything but a way of future-proofing your network.

Unpredictable Performance
Copper’s conductibility makes it highly susceptible to electrical interference, resulting in a higher-than-satisfactory risk of network interruptions.

When no other options existed, copper filled the bill well. Perhaps for some smaller businesses that have lower data transmission and use requirements, it still can. For other businesses, however, fiber cabling brings many benefits to the table.

The Wonders of Fiber Cabling

For every problem associated with copper cabling, fiber cabling offers a solution and then some. This makes now the time for IT professionals to get the approval they’ve been longing for to implement a fiber optic-based network.

With fiber cabling, businesses can:

Save Space
Because fiber optic cables can transmit data much further than their copper counterparts, the need for dedicated network rooms on every floor is eliminated. This opens up valuable space to be used for other needs, including those that generate income. It can also reduce the amount of space required overall. Either way, saving space saves money and increases the bottom line.

Reduce Energy Costs
Energy use and costs are cut in two ways with fiber cabling. First, the higher bandwidth delivers greater computer power which lowers overall load. Second, with no hot spots or excessive heat generated, there is no need for cooling systems. This actually reduces infrastructure and maintenance costs as well as energy costs.

Future-Proof Networks
As technology advances, fiber cable networks can be upgraded without changing any of the floor cabling, as with copper cables. Essentially, a fiber cable network comes ready to grow with both business needs and technology changes.

Improve Network Reliability
Fiber cabling is unaffected by electromagentic interference (EMI), chemicals, soil or other elements. This keeps fiber networks running more consistently than their copper counterparts, improving productivity across the board. It also means that cables can be placed outside or near other electrical cables without concern.

The benefits of fiber cabling for business networks do not stop here, however. Staff efficiency and data integrity are also improved in FTTO networks when compared to structured copper cabling networks.

Efficiency and data benefits include:

Improved Data Integrity
The larger bandwidth of fiber cabling keeps every chunk of data more intact as it moves through the cables, reducing the risk of data loss or errors. This improves internal efficiency as well as customer or client satisfaction. Fiber cabling also transmits data faster and with less attenuation without the distance limitations associated with copper cables.

Increased Security
Fiber cable is far harder to hack than copper, inherently improving the security of all information transmitted over the network.

The growing popularity of fiber optic cables as the backbone of business networks should be no surprise when taking into account all of the critical benefits a business can reap—all the way to the bank and back.

What Choice Will You Make?

Improved performance and simplified management may be sufficient to make an IT professional yearn for a FTTO network. Add reduced costs, enhanced business efficiency and even greater profits to the list and we think any CEO would have to agree.

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